Husband of UK-Iranian prisoner petitions London embassy

London (AFP) - The husband of a British-Iranian citizen jailed in Iran delivered a petition for his spouse to the country's embassy to Britain Wednesday, as Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi visited London.

Richard Ratcliffe, whose wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year sentence in Tehran for alleged sedition, was forced to leave the papers on its doorstep, he told AFP.

"We left them on the door with them promising to pick them up once the press had gone," Ratcliffe said after visiting the embassy, in the Kensington neighbourhood of the British capital.

"Today's event might be seen as provocative, but it is not intended to be," he added. "It is a chance for the Iranian government to affirm its humanitarian credentials."

Iranian authorities accuse Zaghari-Ratcliffe of links to mass protests in 2009, which she denies, and sentenced her to five years in jail for sedition.

Ratcliffe was joined by campaigners from Amnesty International, which has designated Zaghari-Ratcliffe a "prisoner of conscience".

The documents, delivered to coincide with Araghchi's visit, featured an Amnesty-organised petition signed by over 100,000 people calling for the release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

They also included letters sent by her supporters to Evin prison in Tehran, which had returned them claiming she was unknown there.

Ratcliffe also handed off an open letter to Araghchi, to whom he had previously sent an invitation to meet during the visit to Britain which went unanswered.

"He's here to improve relations between Iran and the UK and we want Nazanin to be right at the front of that," Ratcliffe said.

The "Free Nazanin" campaign issued a statement Tuesday saying Iranian prosecutors have said the case has been transferred from the judiciary to the ministry of foreign affairs.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's lawyers have requested she is released temporarily to her parents' house, as fears mount over her mental health while the case drags on.

The couple's young daughter, Gabriella, was in Iran with her mother at the time of her detention and has remained there in the care of relatives.

"This week Nazanin's lawyer was informed that rather than being granted furlough she and Gabriella could be moved under house arrest in a specially guarded house while diplomatic discussions continue," the campaign said.

"The family have rejected this. Nazanin's psychological symptoms continue to worry."